History buffs won’t want to miss Philadelphia because, as you might have heard, the city played a rather key role in the founding of the country. In the city’s Old City neighborhood you can see important sites of historic Philadelphia, like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Constitution Hall. It’s a traveler’s delight because many of the most important and interesting historic attractions are free and allow you up-close access. You can easily get it all in within a single day. So strap on your walking shoes and let’s get going. Here’s my guide to a day in Philadelphia for history buffs!
It doesn’t matter if you prefer modern art, impressionism, or street art, there’s a lot on offer in Philadelphia for art lovers. Philadelphia has been the home and inspiration for countless artists such as Thomas Eakins, Alexander Calder (both Milne and Stirling), and Robert Crumb. The galleries and collections in the city are also incredibly impressive. This is both in terms of quantity and quality. If you only have a single day to see and experience the city and you love art, here is my art lovers travel guide to Philadelphia.
To say that Philadelphia played an important role in Colonial America can’t be overstated. The city is home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Important sites like Valley Forge and the Brandywine sit just a stone’s throw away. Yet somehow, the City of Brotherly Love didn’t have a single museum dedicated to the movement that founded the United States of America. Until now! I recently got a chance to get a sneak peek at the brand new Museum of the American Revolution, which opens on Wednesday, April 19th.
Quick. Think of Philadelphia. What’s the first museum that comes to mind? Probably the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Maybe the Franklin Institute? For out of town visitors looking to get the most of the city, there are lots of things to see that might ordinarily be easy to overlook. For locals, there are places that you might have heard about but never made time to go visit. Regardless of the reason, there are plenty of museums to inspire, entertain and pique your curiosity. But now is the time and go visit! Here are 5 Philadelphia museums off the beaten path that you shouldn’t miss!
Spending a day in Washington, D.C. is a great idea. Spending a day in Washington, D.C. in August (the first day, actually) can cause a traveler to have a second thought. But there I was with a day in Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital is full of fantastic options of things to see and do. There’s no shortage of great restaurants and shops. And while the city does have plenty of public transit options — from the subway to buses doing circuits of the most popular tourist attractions — the relatively flat landscape makes for fantastic walking. Yeah, a day in Washington, D.C. is full of fun.
A long weekend in the summer calls for a road trip! So that’s just what we did on Fourth of July weekend. We packed up and headed to Pittsburgh to spend, roughly, 36 hours. From Philadelphia, it is roughly a four or five hour drive across the state. We kissed the puppy goodbye, hit the road early and lucked out with relatively light traffic.
Pittsburgh is a relatively large city and the second largest in the state of Pennsylvania. The Steel City attracts a lot of attention these days and is definitely a trendy location. The city is considered extremely livable, has a foodie reputation, low crime and they’ve got winning sports teams. It’s just the right size for exploring on a brief stop over or a longer excursion. It’s also just the right size to see large portions on foot. But, there are a lot of hills and somethings are spread out so a car can offer much needed convenience.
Here’s a quick guide of what we did and what we say on our whirlwind trip! Yinz ready? (That’s Pittsburgh-ian for “you ready?”)
The steps outside the east entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art are as far as some visitors to the city ever get to the museum’s impressive collection. Ever since Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 run up those steps in Rocky, tourists flock to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. They’re eager to retrace Rocky’s steps. They race up the steps, arms triumphantly raised. At the foot of the steps, along the street, visitors patiently form a line to get their photo taken with a statue of Rocky.
Readers of the blog (Hi, Mom!) may think that FC Bayern Erlebniswelt sounds a little familiar. And they would be correct! I immediately added the museum for the German soccer/football/Fussball team to my Must See List after hearing about it a few years ago. It was one of the first stops we made on our recent trip to the Bavarian capital city Munich! If you’re a fan of the team or the Bundesliga, you will definitely want to make the pilgrimage.
Prepare to be in awe of the historic paintings, priceless jewels, and lavish decor on display at the Munich Residenz. Visiting the Residenz Palace in downtown Munich, Germany involves a lot of commitment. Put on your most comfortable walking shoes, clear your calendar for the entire day and eat a large, filling breakfast because you’re going to need it. Please do not consider this advice. It is a necessity. It can seem impossible to see all that the Residenz has to offer, or even part. But it sure is a fun challenge!
A museum about tea, you say? In Germany, you say? The East Frisian Tea Museum hits almost all of the buzzwords that are guaranteed to get my attention. (If they somehow managed to tie pastry into the equation than I would, without a doubt, be a goner.) When we think of tea, we, arguably, tend to think of England as the leader for its consumption and India or maybe China as the primary providers. In truth there are far more locations involved in enjoyment of tea and the centuries old tea trade. But northern Germany? For some this may come as a big surprise.
Last weekend, I ended up going through a box of old keepsakes, so to speak, that I have. It’s a box of all the goodies I
hoarded saved from our last trip to Germany. It’s a lot of fun going through the box and remembering everywhere we went, saw, and ate. It’s also good for comparison. I was going through the box looking for some information so I could use it to prepare for our upcoming trip. Can’t wait! Until then, my Reads of the Week….
- Eco-Cha has released a documentary video on Taiwanese oolong tea that was funded by crowd sourcing (including my own).
- Der Spiegel has published an interesting article on the state of Berlin’s museum scene, which they call “boring.”
- On a similar note, German politicians are making some changes that effect the country’s artists. Some of those artists are not responding well. Deutsche Welle is reporting that Georg Baselitz is removing his art from the country’s museums in protest.
- UNESCO has released a list of the newest World Heritage Sites!
- Swiss author Christian Kracht, a favorite of mine, has recently had the first of his books published in English. Imperium is out now.
Summer is officially here. Although it might be hard to tell with all the rain and seasonally cool temperatures that are being forecast for the weekend. Not that I’m complaining. At all. I prefer the cool weather. Or at least weather that’s not humid.
- Mystic Seaport (which I visited last year while in Mystic) is expanding! They’ve released a new video on their blog of Thomas Exhibition Building. Architecturally the building takes great influence from the Mystic River, the sea and the ships at the seaport. It will be utilized as a “new showplace for exhibitions, experiences, and discoveries.” Can’t wait to see it when it’s completed!
- I think I may have found my dream job. The BBC reports on Kinsey Marable, a man who curates private libraries for the wealthy using his proprietary lists of books for different rooms and themes. These aren’t just any books either. Often they’re special or desirable editions and, of course, the covers have to be visually appealing to complete the library’s aesthetic. Among his clients: Oprah Winfrey. Personally, I’d be satisfied if the German language books and the English language books in my home library had the text on the binding going in the same direction.
- For those looking for a deal, Tea Time Magazine is offering a 20% friends and family discount on subscriptions. I’ve been reading their website and following them on Instagram and they’ve got a lot of tasty treats and interesting tidbits! The sale ends June 28th.
- Drinking Becks in the States? Well that beer is more American than you think. Deutsche Welle is reporting that courts have found that the brand mislead consumers. The Becks sold in the US is brewed in St. Louis. Becks was founded in Bremen, Germany.